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Blinken to host event marking anniversary of Israel-Arab normalization deals

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearing to examine U.S. withdrawal from Aghanistan on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing examining the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a virtual meeting on Friday with his counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to mark the first anniversary of normalization agreements between the Arab countries and Israel, a U.S. official said.

The event will be the Biden administration’s highest-profile display of support for the so-called Abraham Accords, which were widely seen as a diplomatic success for former President Donald Trump’s administration.

President Joe Biden has backed the deals since taking office in January, and senior aides have said they were working to get additional Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel after decades of enmity. But the administration until now had been cool to the idea of commemorating the anniversary of the accords.

A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed plans for the meeting, which was first reported by the Axios news website.

The leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords at the White House in September of last year. Israel and Sudan announced in the following month that they would normalize relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December, after Biden defeated Trump in the U.S. election.

Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching those deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state.

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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